'We are Marshall' Coach To Speak At CU

'We are Marshall' Coach To Speak At CU

Sept. 4, 2009
For Immediate Release


By Rachel Crenshaw, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.—The legendary coach Jack Lengyel, who rebuilt Marshall University’s football program after the tragic plane crash in 1970, will travel to Campbellsville University to promote the athletic department and its endeavor to fund raise, Friday, Sept. 25 through Saturday, Sept. 26.

Lengyel’s visit “Meet Legendary Coach Jack Lengyel” will detail many events including speaking at the athletic fundraising dinner Friday, Sept, 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Banquet Hall in the Student Union Building at 110 University Drive, Campbellsville.

Reservations can be made at the Office of Development at 270-789-5211. Tickets, available to the public, are $25 with the proceeds going to CU’s athletic department.

At 7 p.m., the film “We Are Marshall” will be featured in the Winters Dining Hall on all four screens for any students and guests not attending the dinner.  At 9 p.m., Lengyel will hold a question and answer session after the film for all dinner guests and viewers of the film who wish to attend. The question and answer session will be in Winters Dining Hall.   

On Saturday morning, Lengyel will attend breakfast with CU’s football team and give a locker room talk to the team before their game against West Virginia Tech at 1:30 p.m.  He will make his last appearance on the Finley field at halftime before his departure that afternoon.

Lengyel has had a long and distinguished career in collegiate athletics. Lengyel, who began his career as the freshman football coach at his alma mater Akron University, has been involved with intercollegiate athletics since 1957. His career has taken him from the gridiron to the administrative ranks to the private sector.

Lengyel served as assistant football coach at Akron (1959), Heidelberg College (1961-62) and Cornell (1963-65). Lengyel was named head football and lacrosse coach at the College of Wooster in 1966 and remained there for four years.

However, his greatest task and achievement as a coach was rebuilding the football program and community at Marshall University after the tragic airline crash involving the entire team. Lengyel was head football coach at Marshall from 1971 to 1974. Warner Bros. produced the movie “We Are Marshall,” starring Matthew McConaughey as Lengyel.

After three years in the private sector at Gamble Brothers, Lengyel moved into the intercollegiate athletics administrative ranks as the associate director of athletics at Louisville (1980) and the University of Missouri (1981-84). Following his stint at the University of Missouri, Lengyel was named the director of athletics at Fresno State, which won the men’s basketball NIT Championship in 1984.  He returned to Columbia, Mo., as their director of athletics in 1986. 

Following his three-year stay at Missouri, Lengyel was named as the director of athletics at the United States Naval Academy. He remained at the Navy for 13 years from 1988 to 2001 and oversaw a 30 sport athletic department. During his tenure at Navy, Lengyel received a Lifetime Service Award from the Annapolis Touchdown Club (2001), appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation Board of Trustee’s (2001) and the athletic training facility was named in his honor.

Following his retirement from Navy, Lengyel has been active as a consultant and serving in leadership positions in various community and professional organizations. He has served as the interim athletics director at Temple University, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Colorado providing leadership and stability through the administrative transition. Lengyel has used his vast experience to provide strategic operational reviews and analysis for Towson State, Northern Arizona University and Texas State University at San Marcos.

Active professionally and within the community, Lengyel has served in leaderships positions in the National Association of College Directors of America (NACDA), the Division I-A Director of Athletics Association, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, the United State Sports Academy, the College Football Association and the NCAA Committee Membership to just name a few.

Among the honors and awards presented to Lengyel during his career include the John L. Toner Award (2005) and the Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Athletics Award (2005) presented by the National Football Foundation; The Homer Rice Award (2005) presented by the Division I-A Athletic Director’s and NACDA’s James J. Corbett Award (2001).

Lengyel was honored by the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame and received both  the  "Outstanding Contributions to Amateur Football Award" nationally and also received the  "John Toner Award," for outstanding contributions to college football as a director of athletics.

Lengyel earned his bachelor of science degree from Akron University in 1957 and has a master of education degree from Kent State University.

Keith Spears, vice president for regional and professional education, collaborated with Chuck Vaughn, director of the CU Big Maroon Club and Centennial Campaign officer for major gifts, to arrange Lengyel’s visit.  

For more information regarding Lengyel’s visit to CU, contact the Office of Development at 270-789-5211 or by e-mail to Vaughn at cbvaughn@campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2010 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 23rd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and fourth in “up-and-coming” schools in the south. CU has been ranked 17 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges® and to G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his 11th year as president.